Monday, March 23, 2015

And They're Off

The 2016 presidential race officially began today. I said officially, it has been going on unofficially since the polls closed in November 2012 if not before then. We now live in a 24/7, 365 (or 366) campaign cycle. There are 595 days until the 2016 election. 

Unfortunately the first one to enter the horse race is more a horse's ass than a credible candidate. That participant is the extreme right wing, Tea Party, evangelical Ted Cruz. I will start by apologizing to the country for the fact that Texas elected this man to the U.S. Senate. I didn't vote for him, but I do live in Texas so I feel partially responsible.

I watched the whole speech where Cruz announced his candidacy. It was streamed live by one of the local TV stations on their website. Outlined here is my take on that speech.

It was held at Liberty University, one of the most conservative Christian schools in the country. It was founded by Jerry Falwell. There were a reported 10,000 in attendance but it was also reported that this was part of a convocation that is mandatory for on-campus students. It was in the Vines Center which is the school's basketball venue.

There was a raised platform in the middle of the arena surrounded by the audience. The broadcast started with 15 minutes of live Christian music. Next Jerry Falwell, Jr., the chancellor and president of Liberty, introduced Cruz. While he said that Liberty does not endorse political candidates, it sure sounded like an endorsement to me. They were so glad to have Cruz there, so happy in fact that they bumped the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, who was scheduled to speak. By the way, McAuliffe is a Democrat.  Falwell went on for five minutes praising Cruz. 

Then Cruz made his entrance through the crowd to a standing ovation. The reverend Ted Cruz went into his sermon. Oh, my mistake he is not actually a preacher. He went through his whole family history. It was a stirring story of overcoming hardship but all was not good until they became a born again family. It is amazing that his disadvantaged family survived. There was a severe blood sugar spike during this part of the speech.

Cruz stated that the American dream comes from god. Why is that? Does god love Americans more than any other people on Earth? It also seems that god loves white evangelical Christians more than any others. He talked about Patrick Henry and his "Give Me Liberty..." quote. Apparently we no longer have any liberties. He decried the fact that half of born again Christians are not voting. They could fix all that is wrong with the country if they went to the polls. He forgot to mention that all centrists, liberals, Blacks and Hispanics don't vote either so be careful what you wish for Ted.

Now onto somewhat more specific planks in his platform. The word "imagine" was his hook. Imagine economic growth, imagine no net neutrality regulations, imagine energy independence, imagine ...

Cruz would repeal Obamacare, establish a flat tax, abolish the IRS, secure the borders, establish traditional marriage (one man & one woman) as the law, pro-life (anti-choice) of course, pro Israel, pro gun, eliminate Common Core curriculum, no deal with Iran and always use "Islamic" when discussing any terrorist activity. He is an Hispanic whose solution to the immigration problem is to secure the borders. It is not clear to me whether his father was a legal immigrant. He came from Cuba in 1957 but didn't become a U.S. citizen until 2005.

Surprisingly Cruz quoted FDR's the only thing we have to fear... line. Guess Ted forgot that FDR is hated by conservatives for the New Deal. He also talked about Reagan and the Cold War. It was the grace of god that ended the Cold War.

Finally 30 minutes into the speech Cruz announced that he is running for president. What a surprise. Shortly after that the Reverend Cruz ended his speech to another standing ovation. He brought his family onstage and there was more Christian music.

Falwell, Jr. ended the festivities with a prayer for the courageous Ted Cruz and his family. Of course, Liberty University does not endorse political candidates. 

It was a well orchestrated announcement in a very friendly venue. Cruz is articulate in a preacher kind of style. No doubt he is smart, he graduated from Princeton and then Harvard Law School. He has argued cases several times before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Unfortunately Cruz's ideas are from a time past. He seems way too far to the right to be a serious contender in a national election. His ideas will play well with some segments of the Republican party during the primaries, especially where the Tea Party is strong. He is a first term U.S. Senator who has only been through one election. He lacks experience. His reputation, even among Republican colleagues, is that of an uncompromising, grandstanding diva. He has little support among the Republican establishment and big money. Even Fox News is not really thrilled about him.

My hope is that Cruz will flame out early. Better yet would be that he says or does something stupid that ruins his public future. Maybe he will be exposed as a charleton. He is now squarely in the sights of the national media, presidential opponents and every Democrat. Oh, Donald Trump, please demand that we see Cruz's birth certificate then doubt it's authenticity for the next eight years. Ted was born in Canada to an American mother and Cuban father. Sound familiar. Let the race begin. I thinks Cruz's ideas are backwards, dangerous, naive, unrealistic, exclusionary, racist, intolerant plus a few more unpleasant things.

Here is the speech -

Make up your own mind. Thoughtful comments are always welcomed.


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